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Ski Resort Life

We Asked an Artificial Intelligence to Create 5 Resort Maps—Which One Would You Ski?

Look, robots are going to put us all out of work, so we may as well check out what the ski areas they build for us will look like.

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If you haven’t been keeping up with the relentless march toward our inevitable domination and enslavement by robot overlords exciting recent developments in artificial technology, here’s most of what you need to know: AI can basically do everything now. Chatbots like ChatGPT can do anything from debugging computer code to writing a biblical verse in the King James style about how to remove a peanut butter sandwich from a VCR. And that’s just the chatbots; there is also artificial intelligence trained on nearly every image on the entire internet, which churns out hyper-realistic or highly stylized artwork based on brief prompts.

So, what does this have to do with skiing? Well, that’s up to us.

Since I, for one, welcome our robot overlords, I decided to ask a popular art AI called Midjourney to create some ski area maps. I know enough about AI to know that how you craft your prompt is very important, and since I don’t really know squat about AI, I decided that I shouldn’t leave such an important step up to myself. Instead, I asked ChatGPT to craft the prompt. This is what it came up with:

“Create a detailed map of a fictional ski resort, including all the runs, lifts, and amenities available to skiers and snowboarders. Make sure to include a key or legend to indicate the different types of runs (e.g. beginner, intermediate, advanced), as well as any other important information such as the location of ski schools, rental shops, and food and beverage outlets. Consider adding visual elements such as symbols or icons to help make the map more intuitive and easy to understand. You may also want to include a scale and north arrow to help orient the viewer.”

In what is certain to be a preview of my future job, I copied the words in the mouth field of one robot into the ear field of another robot, and the results were…interesting? Since we’re probably only a month or two away from all ski area design being handled by AI, let’s take a gander at what ski areas in The Matrix will look like …

The AI Alp

AI generated ski map

Well, this is promising. This place looks to have legit sustained steeps and just an improbable smattering of tree line to interrupt massive powder fields. I could actually see this resort existing at the end of some remote Swiss valley, where they host an annual top-to-bottom race that you can only win if you ski while smoking. Then again, the language invented by the AI looks more like Elvish, so maybe this is closer to Iceland.

The Upside Down Ski Hill

AI generated ski map

I guess ChatGPT didn’t explicitly tell Midjourney that ski area maps generally put the top of the mountain at the top of the image and the bottom at the bottom, so what does Midjourney know?! It’s never skied uphill or downhill! Or maybe this is actually meant to be like one of those ski hills in Pennsylvania where you park at the top and ski down to the lifts? Either way, this place gives me vertigo and I don’t want to ski here.

The (Un)Natural Terrain Park

AI generated ski map

It’s weird that ChatGPT didn’t say anything about terrain parks, and yet for this ski area Midjourney clearly had a halfpipe on the mind. How else do you explain those red trails on the skier’s right side of the resort, that go up and then down a massive sidehill (presumably with a sick flat spin in the middle), with no chairlifts anywhere in site? This might seem daunting now, but it will make more sense once there is AI in your boots, telling your skis what to do.

The Vail Just Trademarked This Map and is Gonna Build This Place Next Year

AI generated ski map

Seriously, aside from the mysterious caterpillar monster crawling over the ridge to looker’s left, which is probably just a…ahem…bug in the program, what’s not to love about this place? It looks kind of like a Grand Targhee-style hidden gem in the Mountain West, where random unassuming hills boast thigh-torching vertical and wolf fang peaks that you can ski off into 270 degrees of gnar. How do I know Vail’s going to build it? Look at the base; clearly, the parking situation is going to suck.

The Resort Generated by an AI That Clearly Would Rather Be Playing Soccer

AI generated ski map

Sorry, but your entire lower mountain can’t be a field, AI. You’re fired.